or, Ode to Jerry
Small boy dressed as barn owl.
Barn owl with mouth of shark.
Cover of Whitley Strieber’s Communion
but the alien’s smiling.
Boiled can of condensed milk.
Neighbour at RSA on Sunday afternoon.
Slow prattle of Singer in sewing room.
Duvet inner draped over fence.
Constant minor expense.
Ringing tail of rattlesnake.
Ice cream cake.
Convivial beanbag. Wayward bean
escaped from the bag.
Last pavlova my mother made.
Lemon meringue dropped on carpet.
Softness of morning armpit.
In the leaves, a snowman’s stomach.
Boot on doorstep, covered in snow.
Biscuit fallen into tea.
Warm flank of cow. Helpless manatee.
Sea cucumber rolling in the sand.
Sea foam running in the wind.
Iceberg descending into the sea.
Open arms metamorphosing into Jerry.
[NOTE: Last night was the Wellington LitCrawl, and I was part of a short event called Little Beasties, along with Damien Wilkins, Kerry Donovan-Brown, Helen Heath, James Brown, Therese Lloyd, and Chris Price. The idea was that we each had to read something on the theme of the animal kingdom. I had a few animal-ish poems kicking about, but not, like, a core one. I needed a core animal poem. So yesterday afternoon before the reading I hastily wrote this poem (is it really a poem? Maybe it is more of a simple list) about my cat, Jerry, in which I try and fail to find the perfect descriptor for him. I had resolved that the ridiculous Jerry poem would exist solely at the reading, after which it would self-destruct, but when I revisited it this morning in the sober light of day, I felt oddly OK with its bottom-of-the-barrel cheesiness, so here it is.]